An object lesson in how to ignore Latino soccer

You will know, I think, the medical tale -- a surgical joke really -- about the operation that was completely successful. Just unfortunate that the patient died.

But are you aware that U.S. Soccer has recently staged a soccer version of the joke? I’m indebted to Barry Pauwels, the Belgian who is U.S. Soccer’s Director of Coach Education, for opening my eyes to this happening, which I had completely failed to spot.

You see, I had thought the U.S. performance at the recent U-17 World Cup in Brazil was pretty abysmal, and in my ignorance was much inclined to finger coach Rafael Wicky and his coaching team as the leading culprits. During an interview with Soccer America’s Mike Woitalla, Pauwels gave his view of things: “I think the coaching staff did well.”

Pauwels, you need to know, was a member of that coaching staff. His extraordinary opinion conjured up for me a vision of the coaches celebrating and high-fiving each other as the U.S. players trudge forlornly off the field, drubbed 4-0 by the Netherlands and eliminated from the tournament.

So the USA, which has played in 17 of the 18 U-17 World Cups staged since 1985 and has a reasonably good record (4th place in 1999 marks the best finish), scores only one goal and lets in eight while losing two games and tying one, and gives its worst performance ever in the tournament ... but “the coaching staff did well”? Meaning that it was the players who screwed up?

I read the rest of the Pauwels interview, prepared for more silliness. I found it. Plus some remarkable ignorance, a shot of arrogance, a good deal of temporizing and pontifical mugwumpery (Winston Churchill’s term for officialese wordage).

I’ll zero in on how Pauwels deals with the Hispanic issue - which I regard as the No. 1 topic that U.S. Soccer needs to sort out. During the interview, Pauwels is very big on letting us know that he is in favor of bringing people together. He talks of American soccer being a “big family,” and I counted 14 occasions where he uses phrases like “bring people together,” or “all on the same team” or “same page”, or “partnership.” A lot of this is mugwumpery, but the aim is surely a worthy one, and none the less commendable for being an obvious one.

At least it would be commendable but for one glaring blemish: the Pauwels version of the American soccer family evidently has no place for Hispanics. In what is quite a long interview, Pauwels has some 2,500 words but at no point does he introduce the Hispanic topic. Woitalla does bring it up, pointedly, in four of his questions. Pauwels responds to the questions in a variety of ways, all of them dismissive.

When Woitalla asks him for his thoughts on the fact that U.S. Soccer’s newly assembled 60-member Youth Task Force contained not a single male Latino, Pauwels says that the Task Force is “continuously looking” for more expertise. As well it should. But he evades the direct question. Either he cannot, or does not want to, explain the absence of Hispanics.

When Woitalla questions the wisdom of appointing the Swiss Rafael Wicky as U-17 coach, Pauwels heaps praise on Wicky, and says U.S. Soccer made “a really good move to bring him in.” Given the embarrassing U.S. flop in Brazil, that is probably not a widely shared opinion.

The worst of Pauwels’ responses -- and the most revealing -- come when Woitalla, having pointed out that Mexico got to the U-17 World Cup final, asked him whether US Soccer would be reflecting on that.

Without mentioning Mexico or its achievement (let alone, heaven forbid, congratulating the Mexicans) Pauwels says that the reflecting will be done by a group including U.S. men's coach Greg Berhalter and Sporting Director Earnie Stewart, neither of whom has ever shown much interest in things Hispanic. I would say that the chances of any informed review of Mexico’s performance are slender.

Just once can Pauwels manage to use the word “Mexico” - when he chides Woitalla to “just remember that we played Mexico in the Concacaf U-17 final and we were the better team.” Which is clearly intended as a withering put-down of Mexico. You can forget Mexico, we’re better than they are (though they did win that Concacaf final).

The sheer arrogance of that attitude is utterly repugnant. One wonders how deep that goes with Pauwels. He seems to have no interest in, even awareness of, Latin soccer. During the interview, Pauwels mentions his work with the Belgian federation, and describes the work that was done (in which he was involved) to raise the level of the Belgian national team to its current No. 1 ranking by FIFA.

He tells us which teams the Belgians “reflected on” during that process: all his points of reference are European -- the Netherlands, Ajax, France, Spain, Barcelona (though even Spain evidently makes him uncomfortable, a feeling he can assuage by referring to Barcelona as “Barcelona influenced by Cruyff.”)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with his choice of favorites, and I’m certainly not going to argue with any program that cites Johan Cruyff as a model. But what is one to make of Pauwels, a soccer expert, an obviously intelligent man, who has no time for Latin soccer?

Pauwels has just spent 2,500 words outlining his background and his views on the future of soccer in the USA. There is no mention of, not the merest hint of, South America, no Brazil, no Argentina, no Messi, no Neymar. No wonder Pauwels feels no qualms in slighting the Mexicans.

The saddest thing is that Pauwels is now ensconced in Chicago, where he has found, at U.S. Soccer, an environment that, to put it charitably, will do nothing to expand his Eurocentric outlook.

Do I have any qualms about that? I do, indeed I do. As should anyone who wants to see America’s Latino soccer community welcomed -- rather than ignored -- by U.S. Soccer.

34 comments about "An object lesson in how to ignore Latino soccer".
  1. Wallace Wade, December 3, 2019 at 9:13 a.m.

    Clean house! He needs to go along with the rest of the "yes men" and apologists. 

  2. R2 Dad, December 3, 2019 at 9:15 a.m.

    Great to see a further review of this issue on these pages, PG. I'm a big believer in the Big Tent theory of inclusion, but if it just stays theory instead of actual practice Chicago is/will be paying lip service only as well as avoiding one of the biggest topics in the youth game.

  3. George Vecsey, December 3, 2019 at 9:35 a.m.

    Estimado Sr. Pablo:   Well said. My late, great doctor -- the last of a family-doctor, hands-on age -- was once a captain of the Guatemalan national team and played professionally in Mexico.  He often insisted that he could drive out the Long Island Expressway on a Sunday morning and find Latino neighborhoods/fields where the talent/skill level was higher than on US youth teams. Maybe yes, maybe no, but his point was, he did not see enough of the moves, the zest, the inate understanding of the game, that comes from learning from parents, relatives, older friends who grew up with the game. (From seeing some elite girls travel teams over the years, I would say the same gap exists for young women, too.) It's about adults to drive them, and almost full-time nurturing of skill. I.e: money. You and I both know that the USSF wants better players at all levels. But it in this sprawling country, it is locked into a system that depends on comfortable adults squiring kids with leisure time to practice and matches. I bet they know that....they just can't do anything about it. Good on you for pointing it out.   George Vecsey

  4. Kevin Leahy, December 3, 2019 at 9:53 a.m.

    How sad is it that we have this in 2019? The old boys network should be torn down piece by piece. There is no faith that this kind of leadership will ever accomplish what it is tasked to do!

  5. Stan Meihaus, December 3, 2019 at 10:14 a.m.

    Great stuff, Paul, thanks for writing. I am a long time player/fan of the game, and it is incredible to me that anyone could be "arrogant" about US Soccer. We lost to Trinidad and Tobago to miss going to the World Cup! In the last six games against Mexico, we have had 1 draw and 1 win. The Mexico team is incorporating youth and playing possession-based soccer while we struggle with both concepts. Hi fiving over a loss--what a joke. I'm reminded of Brad Pitt playing Billy Beane in Moneyball. He smashes the boombox in the locker room, where everyone is celebrating after a loss, and when the room goes totally quiet, he says "that is what losing sounds like."

  6. frank schoon, December 3, 2019 at 12:17 p.m.

    Let me play the devil's advocate here for I gave my 2cents about Barry Pauwel in his interview the other week. This issue of lack of latino representation, I believe, overlooks, the total problem which is lack of good player development.  First of all Barry Pauwels lack of recognition of Latino representation problem is understandable to me. Coming from Belgium ,Barry has not been subject, like those who live here to the everyday bombarding by the media  ,  about lack of representation of one particular group or another, whether it is Gender, LBGQ, race or whatnot. In this case, it is the lack of Latino representation in the USSF of which Barry was not clued into ,like we are.  Barry came over here focused strictly on developing coaching education. He takes part in selecting committees ,as he states and looks for experts to join the committee. I'm not going to believe that he was told to overlook the hispanics representation , I don't buy that. That there is a total lack of any latin representation needs to be looked,and studied closer and see what are the real underlying causes, instead immediately giving it racial flavor to it.

    I like to know Why, even in the inception of our soccer going back 50years, there has been no Hispanic leadership, power group to give a focus on how soccer needs to be conducted when you take into account the large population of hispanics on the west and east coast. Instead it was Germany, and England that gave the necessary leadership in soccer, organization and training development, Detmar Cramer.  Unfortunately these are two countries I have little respect for when it comes youth development. I much rather would have seen Holland ,Yugoslavia and Brazil having had the dominant influence in US soccer

    I do believe the old boy network is part of the problem but that is a characteristic that is found EVERYWHERE humans socialize, you can't get away from that.  Look into the mirror before you accuse others. One has to be very naive to think this is only a USSF problem, it is in every FA worldwide. This is why I state our soccer problem is much bigger than not having enough Hispanic representation. As a matter of fact even if we solve this particular problem, let us say, that still won't guarantee or improve our player development, which is really the major Problem....


  7. R2 Dad replied, December 3, 2019 at 1:40 p.m.

    Agreed, Frank. I think the low Hispanic numbers are a symptom of a broken system. Pay-to-play reinforces pay-to-play, and they are late(r) to the party and without a built-in USSF network to draw from. But Pauwel is from Belgium, where ethnicity issues DO exist between french and dutch-speaking halves, so it's not like he can't quickly get his head around the problem. He's probably more confused by the fact that noone in the status quo is concerned about improving quality of play and developmental processes to support that. I suspect that, after a year or so here, BP will get to, "There is no ProRel here--how are the players supposed to get better if there aren't proper incentives all along the food chain to improve player quality? MLS has effectively captured their USSF regulator, so it can't happen. But this is a common problem in the US with Wall Street/SEC, state/federal regulations & the tort bar. So I'm not surprised."

  8. frank schoon replied, December 3, 2019 at 5:17 p.m.

    R2, It is not the pay to play but the lack of a pickup soccer culture. Read Zlatan's book and you'll see he learned his game and skills in the streets and his family was very ,very poor. He didn't even join a club until his late teens. 
    Pauwels came over to improve the educating of coaching/teaching methods not busy himself with ethnic issues of which he has little understanding of ,here at least. In Belgium, that is a whole different ball of wax.... 

    As far as the Pro/rel goes ,I wish that was the problem in our players development but it is not, not by a long shot. Before worrying about Pro/Rel we need to get decent player development first.

  9. R2 Dad replied, December 3, 2019 at 9:53 p.m.

    Frank, I don't doubt that pick-up soccer would address many of the deficiencies of our youth players, but all the horses have left the barn. The time for that was 70 years ago when parents would actually let their kids ride down to the local park/school yard by themselves. So in lieu of 10,000 outdoor courts as Cony advises, I think ProRel is the best way to encourage player development. This would encourage coaches/clubs to develop players, rather than forcing USSF to change--something it clearly does not have the stomach to do. How else can you get USSF voting members to care about quality instead of quantity? Clubs now are like puppy mills, cranking our a boatload of rec players--it's the volume of tranquilized parents and players that pay the bills. If some players develop on their own, it's because they were lucky enough to stumble across a coach that knew what to do with them at the right time in their development, ie serendipity. Noone at USSF cares about development--that is someone else's hill to die on. As I've said before, it's only when our kids have kids, and they watch in horror in 2038 when the same clubs they played on when THEY were kids are still crap, churning out bad players because the coaches/clubs are STILL crap, will anything change. I hope Sunil and Carlos are still around to watch USSF figuratively burn to the ground.

  10. frank schoon replied, December 4, 2019 at 10:19 a.m.

    R2, read Humble 1 comment on pickup soccer as hes drives by the Mexican communities in Chicago. You will see the horse has not left barn, so to speak. It would be nice to have 10000 soccer courts like Cony mentions but I"m not asking for that for you really don't need for the Mexican community Humble mentions are not asking for but doing just fine with what they have.

     This Mexican community there has a Pickup soccer culture and that is what I like to see in other communities. These kids will have so much more basic technical tools then what you will learn at a club which is more involved in teams not individuals. Like I stated before Zlatan learned most of his soccer playing pickup. And yes he learned other aspects when playing organized club ball. Zlatan would not have been the player he was if his initial development began at the club instead of the playing pickup first. Simply no way. Ajax develops  youth but DON'T forget Ajax just doesn't accept any youth but only youth who are the best in their community. And how do you think these youth become the best in their community before trying out for Ajax..... playingPickup soccer.......
    So again, we come back full circle to the important aspect of  Pickup soccer....

    Your Pro/Rel is fine for older players who are diamonds in the rough and need to have things smoothed out and therefore work will REAL soccer players like the ones I often mention and not these Joe Blows who played for Pizza Hut United...

    And as far as the leadership goes of the USSF, i'm on board with you on that.... 

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, December 4, 2019 at 1:32 p.m.

    It isn't just what you said, Frank, but every historical account I have read attributes player development benefits to playing pickup on bad surfaces without "regulation" balls, uniforms, or cleats. I think playing on the "pool table" perfection of artificial turf actually retards player development. When I finally played on a beautiful college field in my mid 30's, it was amazing and extremely friendly compared to the lumpy, poor surfaces I was used to. The fields were often either muddy or hard packed clay. Practice fields were worse. Not to mention the challenge of playing on ponded surfaces and in the snow and ice.   

  12. frank schoon replied, December 4, 2019 at 2:33 p.m.

    Bob, Perfectly stated..... what else can I say, but that you have a gift of explaining in it in a short, efficient manner, like Ships.

  13. Paul Cuadros, December 3, 2019 at 12:21 p.m.

    We know this is true because US Soccer will never hire a head coach from south of the border and into South America. The idea that US Soccer will hire head coaches and directors of programs from Europe easily and readily but have trouble when hiring coaches from Argentina or Brazil or Colombia. This is the very definition of institutional bias--a bias that comes from a Anglo-centric U.S. culture and a rejection of all things from the Americas, even its own kids. Given the demographic shift in the U.S., I can only imagine that US Soccer in 20 years will shift along with it and hire South American coaches--I can imagine, can't I?

  14. Wooden Ships replied, December 3, 2019 at 3:13 p.m.

    Paul, you've come closest to explaining this situation, IMHO. 

  15. frank schoon replied, December 3, 2019 at 5:05 p.m.

    Paul , you might have a point about the bias of not hiring a Latino coach, like Tata. I got that feeling over 30 years ago when the USSF turned down Teofilo Cubillas, one of the world great players from Peru, when he went applied for his B-coaching, here. At that time the USSF coaching school was very ,very biased towards European soccer. And ofcourse, in those days, you would often hear youth coaches  yell at the kids "you dribble too much", 'one-touch it' , 'pass the ball' don't be fancy' get rid of it". And that is another reason why Latino soccer which is known for ball handling skills , holding on to the ball wasn't popular with these coaches. 

    But as far as the demographic shift goes for improvements, I have my doubts. Sure we can have all the coaches be latinos as instructors of the USSF coaching school or whatever or have a latino NT coach, but if we don't have a pickup soccer culture, were just whistling in the wind.

  16. cony konstin, December 3, 2019 at 12:36 p.m.

    We did this program in 1995 and should have been emulated by US Soccer all over our nation. If you have time watch this video.

  17. uffe gustafsson, December 3, 2019 at 5:21 p.m.

    you brought the issue of pay to play system.
    yes that’s and issue but no one so far have come up with a solution.
    the fact is field time cost money, and big part of the clubs budgets are to pay for using the fields.
    most fields are own by cities and school districts.
    and they charge big money to use them.
    if pay to play is not what we want, who will pay for the cost of using fields? We had a Latino youth club in Oakland think they mostly run by volunteers but poorly run and think the cost made them dissapear.
    i don’t think the cities and school districts will absorb the cost of up keeping or getting money to cover the cost of putting in a turf field, if we want clubs to use em for free. Most of them are cash strapped as it is.
    this especially for inner city soccer clubs since lots of sports compete for field use.
    so before we talk about pay to play we need to understand why we have pay to play.
    can clubs be more frugal? I think yes, having the elite teams going to far away tornament even though we have great local teams to play, uniforms cost is another issue for players that have family budgets to keep in check. These extra costs beside the club fee on some teams are almost as high as the club fee.
    I believe most clubs do give big breaks to players that can’t afford the club fees, but not necessarily for the team experience. And that will make some players not able to stay on an elite team.

  18. Bob Ashpole, December 3, 2019 at 5:54 p.m.

    Nothing to add to what Paul wrote, except to emphasize that, with the youth task force, USSF is excluding Latinos from the policy-making process at USSF. That is patently wrong. 

  19. Chris Morris, December 3, 2019 at 7 p.m.

    Wow. Comment above from the famous author and journalist George Vecsey. So he reads SA and Paul Gardner. Impressive.

  20. humble 1, December 3, 2019 at 9:16 p.m.

    Don't think we can blame Pauwels for latinos being fenced out of Y and MNT soccer. He just got here and they parked him in the ivory tower called 'U.S. Soccer House' on South Prairie Ave in Chicago.  How can he know anything about latino soccer in the USA?  Most latino players never touch a pitch for a club that has any affiliation to USSF.  To give an example, today I drove by a public high school near my home that is known in these parts as a soccer power house.  The boys were out practicing - all the teams freshman, sophs, JV and seniors.  Every single player was latino.  The others schools call these teams the 'mexican national team'.  The only time they have a chance to beat them is if one of the stars lost his spot because his grades were too low. B4 high school these boys all played in local latino Sun/Sat leagues - coached by parents - costing $200 / yr - were they play in the same private park every Sunday or Saturday.  Simple and inexpensive.  You can see them playing also in the parking lots of the aparment complexes they live in and in parks around town on the weekends.  The setup is the same in Chicago.  Most of these kids never register for a USSF affiliated league.  Most families that consider themselves 'soccer' families and grew up in the 'pay-to-play' world have zero awareness of this alternate soccer world.  There are many interests that want to keep it this way.  And they have.  These are the folks you should be talking at.  One day the cat will escape from the bag.  We got a long way to go.

  21. Ric Fonseca replied, February 3, 2020 at 3:51 p.m.

    Your comments remind me - something I shall never forget - when I was the CYSA-S District Commissioner, when I was "tasked" to reach out to the local unaffiliated atuld & youth soccer leagues, and pitch affiliation, a move that was very politely turned down - at least in my district - since they've been shunned aside for years if not decades.  It also reminds me of the time in the late '80s when ayso made an attempt - feeble as it was - to introduce the ayso model in a heavily Latino/Mexican American community - an ayso model that was (and still is?) more suited to the Anglo and affluent community of families who only saw soccer as another sport their kids would take to - That attempt included a very good friend a former local high school coach and competition-based youth soccer (as opposed to the ayso recreational model) who eventually gave up since the ayso gurus were insistent that if their model was good enough for the folks on the other west-side of town, it'd be just as good in the Latino community.  Sadly, it didn't, although I must admist that now, into the second decade of the 21st century, I've seen more Latinbo/Hispanic oriented ayso groups.  Interesting!

  22. Michael Taddonio, December 3, 2019 at 9:30 p.m.

         Paul Gardner is absolutely correct!  Latin players and coaches need to be included in the total picture of American soccer. The Latino coaches and players are talented and skillful. They would contribute so much to American soccer. Ignorance of a significant segment of the United States population is an injustice, to say the least. US Soccer needs to shape up about this and shape up very fast. 

  23. Ric Fonseca replied, February 3, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

    Paul has been ALWAYS calling for more Latino inclusion in US Soccer circles, and I take my hat off to him.  In the late '80s and into the '90s, he wrote about a local Los Angeles player, whose talents were more than just "darned good" and who was also noticed by my friend Sigi Schmid (RIP) who assisted his family in getting in contact with some Bundesliga teams.  Sadly, that young player was for some reason or other, not noted by local or even some national college teams, and was thus willfully overlooked and pased over, a move that his family decided to take Sigi's advise, and therefore sent their son to Germany for several years. That player eventually survived the B'Liga for several years, and eventually went to other European teams, but a severe knee injury forced his early retirement and return to the US - by that time he was ineligible for a college tryout. 
    Another factoid, I believe a comment above decries the lack of a strong Latino group that can and is willing to get some sort of position and or to counter the US Soccer closed mindedness, and I can say that it has been tried, however, that door though it opened in the late '90s and "un poquitito" in the new decade of this century, now seems to remain firmly closed to us - the Latino/Hispanic soccer playing mundo in this vast and expansive country of ours. Is it a wonder why we say, gracias but NO gracias???  Lastly, why the fascination with the Dutch and Cruyff, & company???  That was then and this is now!!!  

  24. Derek Mccracken, December 4, 2019 at 9:25 a.m.

    I LOVE that Paul is here to call out USSF for it's decades-long cronyism, it's mafia-like death grip it has on the U.S. sport and not allowing any "outsiders" in, and the almost comical lip service that U.S. Soccer gives to Hispanic inclusion. I agree that an exponential, order of magnitude greater move to include much, MUCH more Hispanic administrators, coaches and players is required if we ever want to move away from the mediocrity in which United States soccer currently finds itself. 

    Sadly, I think the gool ol' boy network within USSF is too comfortabe with its power and, despite that a move to include more Hispanics would be a HUGE boost for U.S. Soccer, they will never loosen their grip on power. We are destined to remain mediocre for decades to come.

  25. frank schoon, December 4, 2019 at 10:46 a.m.

    Guys ,read Humble1 , and take note especially on what he states about the Mexican community.
    As far I'm concerned I don't want the Mexican community or rather the Hispanic to ever get involved with the USSF, organization. Sure get your Spanish coaching license through them, fine. But don't give your up independence by joining this USSF organization; look what they have done or rather look at what a mess they have made. I'm saying there is no way the Hispanic communities will have better developed  youth through the USSF, that pickup soccer can give.

    What those of the USSF community don't have is what the Hispanic community does have and that is a PICKUP SOCCER CULTURE. I'm afraid by allowing the USSF to take a foothold into the Hispanic
    community, little by little the pickup culture will lessen. It fine to join a club sponsored by USSF let us say but only at a much later age, like I and many other did in their street soccer days. Read Zlatan's  autobiography or even Cruyff's

    The youth that are asked to join Ajax are already GOOD players for their age. They are not good because Ajax developed them , no they learned first through playing PICKUP SOCCER. It's that simple! A good example is Frenkie de Jong the Ajax player who is now playing for Barcelona. Frenkie was already a talent as a youth before coming to Ajax; Ajax developed him to play at a higher level. Clubs don't make the player to become great, they already are talent, in other words don't think some Bozo with a coaching license is your youth's greatness. Arnold Muhren, a former great of Holland but was only 20th men on the great Ajax team when Cruyff played. He stated he didn't learn anything from Rinus Michels instead he learned from the players like Cruyff ,Keizer and his brother Gerrit. In other words players learn more from other players and not from the coach.

    This is the reason why I want the Hispanic to stay away from joining a USSF club but develop the way they are doing through a PICKUP CULTURE. The Hispanic community are a step ahead of us through having a pickup culture and they don't even know it. 

  26. humble 1 replied, December 4, 2019 at 11:11 a.m.

    Thank you for the referal highly esteemed Frank Schoon.  Remember what I say - the latinos are really not one group - they are not united.  This is a little understood fact - the only thing they have in common is language and soccer - and Brazil the biggest soccer engine in world does not share the language.  Only the Mexican's are able to leverage what  is here - this is why the Alianza Sueno exists - this is really for Mexico NT to ID talent here - as they have.  It is almost free a talent pool - all they have to do is mine it - identify - then persuade - easy sell.  This is where the J.Gonsalez and E.Alverez come from.  The trouble here is that once a latino player enters the High School and they switch from playing 'futbol' to 'soccer' - this is the beginning of the end of their careers.  They cannot really develop as they need to over the key age from 16 to 21 with most coaches not ever having played soccer and count down clock and unlimited substitutions - remember - in HS 'soccer' many coaches sub in taller players for corners!  Even street play cannot help here.  Of course after high school - dead end for 99.9% of all these players as they are not in the elite 'DA' system and their families have no idea about the alternate world of college applications for 'soccer' players.  So they are off to college or work - but soccer play becomes a hobby.  This is why so many people say the talent is here - and it is - more than most people realize - because they do not venture into this alternate world - but - all this talent gets crushed in the 'soccer' system - and really - nobody really cares - because they are busy focus on keep the cash flowing - and this alternate world is one of peanuts.  But of course as I say - Pauwels is not the dude to talk at about this problem - it is all the people up on 'Soccer House' on South Prairie Ave - where they are supposed to be support soccer all across the USA - but where we have been stuck in the same rut since the 1980s.

  27. frank schoon replied, December 4, 2019 at 11:53 a.m.

    Humble, they don't stop palyidn pickup even if they play HS of club ball....Players development is not linear. It think it is good for them to experience HS ball, for it prepares them better especially when  a lot of players are run and gun, and more physical It is best for them to cope with different types of soccer. I don't want to get stuck in Pickup soccer area, they need expand their experiences. This is what I did during my street soccer days, I made sure one or two days out of the week I visit different neighborhoods to meet new challenges, different players , different circumstances..

  28. Ric Fonseca replied, December 4, 2019 at 1:37 p.m.

    Snor Schoon:  Your narrowmindedness doesn't surprise me, especially when you say you "want the Hispanic to stay away from joining a USSF club (sic)..." and to me it is apalling to read such negativivy - though you and others would call it "spot on," and I'd wager a quarter that you probably do not know or ever have known that it is the Hispanic communities that want to stay - and do - away from USSF.  I lnow, I've been there and done that.  And someone above said that he hasn't seen a large Hispanic league or organization try or take on US Soccer, and I am painfully aware of that as it is also money driven.  Consider the time when the lowly dollar-rich and young-youth recreational group, known as ayso, literally and virtually took on US Soccer, and the time it went after them with lots of dollars, by threatening to take them to court if ayso did not become or was granted full affiliation, and know what their threat worked and instead of going court, the US Soccer Board welcomed the organization with open arms, in short one could say that money talked and some folks walked.  I kid you not, and look it up in the US Soccer files, I so keenly being present at the US Soccer AGM when this happened (sorry I don't exactly recall where it was held).
    As for US Soccer blatant anti-Hispanic-Latino bent, and the US Soccer coaching "mafioso bunch" several writers mention Gansler as being one of the guys that flunked a couple of Latino soccer notables, but thay should also mention Miller, and Killen, and yes even Schmid as well as Perez, et. al who formed part of the US Soccer Coaching Faculty, and lastly, allow me to beat my drum, the cost for attending the first US Soccer Coaching school at UCLA taught by D. Cramer, was a not so affordable (if memory serves me well) areound $300 +/-, and the ones I attended and worked as site manager ranged up into the $500-600 range for a week, which included food and lodging, class room space and of course field space, as long as one did not put soccer boots and kick around the precious football practice sites or baseball outfields. And lastly, really!, as for Latino or Hispanic coaching candidates, I don' recall many or any, except several of my college team players who "worked" the classes but were not allowed to take the exams... and as for pick up games, jeepers, street soccer? Hell, kids would/will be run off the streets by the cops, but kudos to those above who've "driven by and seen those kids go at it."  So to one and all, SALUDOS CORDIALES and PLAY ON!!!

  29. Bob Ashpole replied, December 4, 2019 at 1:42 p.m.

    Humble, what you say is true as far as it goes. They can develop, however, by playing in adult Ethnic leagues (I say Ethnic instead of Hispanic out of rememberance of a soccer playing friend from Connecticut of Portugeuse heritage--that man had skills that I still greatly admire almost 40 years later).

  30. Philip Carragher, December 4, 2019 at 1:58 p.m.

    I just finished a podcast detailing how the youth of today play and one suggestion the researcher made about improving the beneficial effects is for youngsters to play with a wide range of ages. It is also helpful for them to play with slightly older kids rather than much older kids so the competitiveness doesn't overwhelm them. That's the researcher's conclusion. Pickup soccer has some of these elements. One other important aspect that cultures whose parents are or were soccer players is that they usually watch good international soccer. Watch and imitate.

  31. frank schoon replied, December 4, 2019 at 2:52 p.m.

    Philip, the key word is MIXED AGES when playing pickup soccer.... MIXED AGES, is the catalyst that allows younger players to learn from older players, not the coaches.... And the older players can use the younger players to perfect their moves....Garrincha the great Brazilian right wing would take 4 or 5 youngsters ,teeners , sometimes pay them, to try to get the ball away from him.....This is how he became the great 1v1 player....It is all so simple, the process of developing but somehow the coaching element, the team organizational aspects, all the structure entities, have roadblocked the youth's development. This is why I am so protective of the Mexican community's Pickup soccer culture for I don't want to lose it since no other communities have this.

  32. Alfred Randall, December 5, 2019 at 12:49 a.m.

    I don't agree with you more than half the time but you have hit the nail on the head with this piece.

  33. David Ruder, February 14, 2020 at 5:15 p.m.

    In most cases, Latinos legal or illegal come here for the paycheck and should they have a child who can play pro soccer they would rather send them back to their home country to play.

  34. Darrel Wilkins, February 17, 2020 at 10:58 a.m.

    He should take a visit from Chicago to California, both Sourthern California and Northern California where we have so many youth players we are divided into two states. The Hispanic influence is non-deniable in California. Come to the Central Valley where we have the world's richest farmland and look at the stats. Furthermore, what's sad, is if the youth players all pay a registration fee...and if any of it goes to US Soccer and Pauwels salary, they should especially get what they pay for and a fair shot. His views sound more like a youth soccer parent who doesn't want to lose playing time for their child rather than a Director of Coaching Education...

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